TERRA HAUTE, Ind. - A ninth-inning Bluejay rally was stymied by a controversial call as Creighton fell to Indiana State, 5-4, on Saturday, April 13.
Down 5-3 entering the top of the ninth, the Jays set the scene for a dramatic finish by loading the bases with one out. Sophomore Landon Lucansky drew a one out walk, followed by a single through the left side from sophomore Kevin Lamb. Junior Brad McKewon was hit by a pitch to fill the bags.
Junior Federico Castagnini tightened the game further with a short single to left on a sinking line drive. The Jays could only advance one bag as Sycamore left fielder Casey McCurdy just missed a miraculous catch.
With the game on the line, sophomore Jake Peter smacked a ball towards second. Castagnini was forced at second, but Peter easily beat the throw to first. Unfortunately the umpiring crew ruled that Castagnini interfered with the completion of the throw to first, resulting in the Sycamore win.
Manaea picked up the win (5-2) for Indiana State, allowing two runs on five hits and four walks in 6.2 innings. Reliever Greg Kuhlman recorded the final two outs to earn his first save of the season.
Musec took the loss (0-4) for the Jays, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks in 4.1 innings.
The Bluejays fell behind 4-0 as Creighton hitters struggled through the first six innings against Indiana State's projected first round draft pick, Sean Manaea.
The Sycamores got two runs in the fourth off Creighton starter, senior Nick Musec. Indiana State added two additional runs in the sixth on a bloop single by Tyler Wampler into short right field.
The Bluejays began their comeback in the seventh against Manaea when seniors Alex Staehely and Brennan Murphy drew back-to-back walks to open the frame. One out later, Lucansky loaded the bases with the third free pass. With two outs, McKewon delivered a short single to left. Staehely easily scored, but Murphy appeared to be thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Immediately after being called out, Murphy popped up to argue that he was obstructed by Indiana State third baseman Koby Kraemer. Assistant coach Spencer Allen took up the cause for Murphy with the umpiring crew, then head coach Ed Servais joined the discussion. After a lengthy debate, Murphy was awarded home to make the score 4-2.
The Sycamores escaped the Jays' seventh and added an insurance run in their half of the frame.
Creighton, however, was far from through. Junior Mike Gerber blasted a majestic solo home run over the left field wall in the top of the eighth to make it 5-3, where it remained into the top of the ninth.
Creighton and Indiana State will close out the three-game set on Sunday, April 14 at 12 p.m. (CT). The Jays will be looking to salvage the series finale, while the Sycamores go for the sweep.